Taylor Lowe Windham, 28
Taylor found Irby as she was finishing her master’s degree in Business Administration at the University of Mississippi, but her knowledge of the electrical distribution industry stretches back much further.
“My dad is a retired electrician, so throughout my life I’d see him wear hats and shirts with the Irby logo, so it was familiar to me in that way,” Taylor recalled. “When I was close to completing my MBA, I went to a career fair at Ole Miss and Irby was there to recruit. I picked up some information—and got a good vibe from the company—so I looked into it more.”
Taylor explained that she didn’t know exactly what she was looking for as a job, but Irby’s sales and operations training program (through parent company Sonepar) sparked her interest. “It offered me the opportunity to look at the whole company—both operations to sales—and really learn what I wanted to do,” she said.
Taylor spent her first year learning the company. “I worked in the warehouse and in inside sales. I got to check out outside sales and project management—all the ins and outs,” she said. “From there I was promoted to a full-time position on the projects team in the commercial division, and it’s been great. I’ve bonded a lot with our customers and learned a lot about our customer base and all our products. It’s opened so many doors me on both a professional and personal level.”
Asked what she sees as a challenge in the industry, Taylor singled out constantly changing technology and the aging workforce. “A lot of my work is with lighting and gear and there is a constant change of controls and having to integrate data,” she explained. “There’s a continuous update of technology—what tools to use and what products to align with and carry within the company. And then there’s the aging workforce. Bringing in new people now is imperative. There is a wealth of knowledge here right now, and we need to transfer that knowledge to the newer generation so they can take it and make it into something that will work in the new world—in the more technologically advanced world—so that this industry can continue to flourish.”
Professionally, Taylor hopes to move into a management role one day. “I’m in a sales role right now, so I hope more of a management role is my future,” she said. “I’d like to be able to take the knowledge that I’ve gained over the past few years and apply that, with my degrees, to help to grow this company and help it continue on a prosperous path.”
To those just entering the industry, Taylor has this advice: “Take a deep breath and take it all in—but know it’s going to take time,” she said. “There’s a lot to know and a lot of products to learn, so you have to take it day by day and be aware that there’s going to be times that you don’t know things and that it’s okay to ask questions.”
Taylor, who recently became a mom for the first time, enjoys spending her free time with her daughter and husband. “We enjoy going to the park and taking nature walks,” she said. “Especially during these times, when we can’t really go to events, we are just taking in the natural beauty that we have nearby.
Each year tED magazine recognizes 30 of the industry’s best and brightest under the age of 35. Please visit tedmag.com/30Under35 for nomination information and updates about the 2021 program. Questions can be sent to tED Editor Misty Byers at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tagged with 2020 30 Under 35, 30 under 35, Irby, people